There’s no better way to clear your mind and leave behind the concrete landscape of cities, than with a trek in nature. Travel writer and photographer, JFW, recommends trekking in the Kudremukh National Park as one such trek.
Kudremukh National Park
Kudremukh National Park, situated in the Western Ghats, is located at a distance of about 100 kms south-west of Chikmagalur town. The park houses four ranges named Kudremukh, Kerekatte, Kalasa, and Shimoga. It is also the origin of three rivers – the Nethravathi, the Tunga and the Bhadra.
Kudremukh National Park is popular for its spectacular beauty, located in the midst of mountains and is also known for its flora and fauna. The Kudremukh peak, which is shaped like a horse face, and by which the national park gets its name, is the highest spot at about 1850 meters..The park is covered with thick hilly forests and sweeping grasslands.
Wildlife and Birding in Kudremukh National Park
Wildlife such as the tiger, leopard, wild dog, Malabar giant squirrel, common langur, sloth bear, gaur, porcupine, deer, giant flying squirrel, besides reptiles like snakes are residents of the park.
The park is also a great spot for birders having close to 200 species of birds including the Malabar trogon, Malabar whistling thrush, great pied hornbill and the imperial pigeon.
Trekking in Kudremukh
Kudremukh is a trekker’s paradise. Although there are many treks in this area, ranging from a day-long one to a five-day trek, the trek that is the most popular is the one-day trek. Here is more on that:
- Altitude: 6,207 ft
- Time taken: 8-9 hours (5 hours to ascend); 18 km in total
- Trek gradient: Moderate to difficult depending on your fitness
The trek begins just past the Forest Office. After filling your personal details in the register at the office and once the necessary fees are paid and permission is granted, you begin the trek. The path can be confusing as there are many wandering trails and hence the forest department recommends that you utilize the services of a guide. Plan to begin your trek at least by 8 a.m. as it takes about 5 hours to trek to the peak. The views of grasslands interspersed with patches of shady shola forests with streams flowing within them, provides for a fantastic experience. After spending some time at the peak taking in the views, it is important that you leave the peak at least by 2 p.m., so you can make it back before it gets dark.
The best way to organize this trek would be to contact a local person, who manages everything – stay, jeep rides, trekking permissions and arranging a guide.
Carry everything you need with you – snacks, energy drinks and medicines. Don’t forget your camera as you will be greeted by the most spectacular views, well worth capturing.
If you are not comfortable drinking water from wild streams, you must carry your own water or a personal filtration system. Given that this is almost a 10 hour trek, carry adequate water.
Littering is prohibited everywhere in the Kudremukh area. If you are found littering while trekking you could be penalized.
Camping on the trek is not allowed, and visitors need to stay at a homestay at the base village or at one of the hotels in a nearby village.
The trek is best during the monsoon and the winter. It is particularly scenic just after monsoon when the whole vista that you see is covered by lush green carpets of grass andthe forests are dark and shady havens. There are many streams to cross throughout the trek, and carrying waterproof shoes is recommended.
Proper permissions have to be obtained from the park authorities before venturing on a trek.
Check your fitness levels and medical condition before embarking on the trek.
Besides homestays and resorts, you can get accommodation at the Forest Rest Houses inside the park. Accommodation is also available at Kalasa, Sringeri and Karkala. Book and confirm your accommodation before you leave to Kudremukh.
Distance from Kudremukh National Park
- Bangalore: 360 km
2. Mangalore: 130 km
3. Chikmagalur: 95 km
4. Sringeri: 20 km
5. Kalasa: 20 km
6. Karkala: 50 km
7. Mudigere: 75 km
- Chennai: 685 km
How to get there
Nearest Airport: Mangalore
Nearest Railhead: Mangalore
Road: Kudremukh National Park is well connected by road from Chikmagalur, Mangalore and Sringeri. The park is approachable from Bangalore via Chickmagalur, or from Mangalore via Karkala.
Kudremukh National Park is one of those places that are bound to leave you wanting more than you can take in. Grab your trekking gear and ride the flying horse face!